Quick Overview

Capital: Sofia
Population: 7.1 million
Official language: Bulgarian
Time zone: Eastern European Standard Time, Eastern European Summer Time
Emergency #: 150
Vaccinations required: No
Risk of malaria: No
Climate Info

Bulgaria: Travel Health Information

Bulgaria is known for its diverse sights and attractions, including its 400 kilometer Black Sea coastline and beaches, the Russian-built Shipka monastery - “The Nativity”, the natural Belogradchik Cliffs, and ancient theatres leftover from the Roman Empire’s occupation of the country.


The standards for patient care and medical services in Bulgaria may differ from your home country. Bulgaria has a public healthcare system and a private sector.Healthcare in major cities typically meets international standards, but may be inadequate throughout the rest of the country. The number of physicians working in urban areas is much higher than rural areas and the quality of services may vary by region.

In the event of a medical emergency, contact your travel health insurance company immediately. Hospitals in Bulgaria require upfront payment, regardless if you have travel health insurance. Due to limited healthcare, evacuation to Western Europe may be required for complicated medical emergencies. Ensure that you have accessible funds to cover upfront fees and adequate travel health insurance, including evacuation. Before you depart, check with your insurer about the extent of their coverage in Bulgaria.

Pharmacies and medications

The pharmaceutical sector in Bulgaria has grown substantially in recent years. Pharmacies are widely available in urban areas but access may still be limited in some regions. Prescriptions for medicines must be obtained by a local doctor, although some pharmacies may sell some medicines online without a prescription.

If you are travelling with medication, check with Bulgaria’s embassy, consulate, or Ministry of Health for details on medication allowances and restrictions. If your medication is a psychotropic or narcotic, you can review Bulgaria’s regulations on the International Narcotics Control Board. Note that these sources may provide incomplete or out-of-date information.

Road safety

Roads in Bulgaria are not always well maintained, so caution should be taken while driving. In rural areas, roads may be unlit, which can pose a risk to travellers driving at night. Drivers and passengers in vehicles must wear a seat belt at all times. Helmets are required for motorcycle drivers and passengers and are recommended for cyclists.

  • Antoniya Dimova, Maria Rohova, Stefka Koeva, Elka Atanasova, Lubomira Koeva-Dimova, Todorka Kostadinova, Anne Spranger. Health System in Transition: Bulgaria. European Observatory. (2018).
  • Government of UK. Foreign Travel Advice: Bulgaria.
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